Reid vows to resist 'ransom' to avoid government shutdown
WASHINGTON — The congressional battle that sparked over government funding and the 2010 health care law continued today in the U.S. Senate, where Democratic leaders said they would resist Republican demands to shut down the government next week if the law known as Obamacare continues.
Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., opened the chamber’s weeklong work session with a blast at House Republicans, who on Friday passed a measure that funds the federal government past Sept. 30 -– the end of the fiscal year -- but ties it to the de-funding of Obamacare. Tea party Republicans have vowed to kill the health-care law, but Democrats, particularly in the Democratic-controlled Senate, have vowed to protect it. The showdown threatens to shut down the government next week.
Reid assailed “anarchist” Republicans whom he said are risking the U.S. economy and the government’s credit rating over a futile ideological point. He said House Republicans are living inside a “bubble,” and cited several quotes from Senate Republicans who harshly criticized their conservative colleagues in the House. He noted that the Supreme Court last year ruled that the 2010 law was constitutional, and that Obama was handily re-elected.
“The reviews are in, and they’re universal,” Reid said. “The ransom demanded by House Republicans in exchange for keeping the government open is unworkable and unrealistic. President Obama has been clear, and I’ve been clear, that any bill that defunds Obamacare is dead on arrival in the Senate. …We refuse to bow to tea party anarchists who refuse to bow to the Supreme Court ruling that Obamacare is constitutional.”
No GOP leaders spoke in response to Reid. However, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a Tea Party favorite, said Monday that he would oppose some judicial nominees, preparing to filibuster even routine Senate action to prolong the debate over the health care law. That signals a drawn-out process before the Senate can reach a vote on the main underlying issues. A final vote may not come until the middle of next week.
The House was out of session Monday and is not expected to reconvene until Wednesday.